No Health Benefits from Light Alcohol Consumption

alcohol-consumptionDespite all the health problems associated with drinking alcohol, over the years there have been a number of studies which argued that minimal drinking had some health benefits – such as having a glass of wine or two a day is good for the heart. This kind of research led many to believe that minimal alcohol consumption may help them live longer. New research, suggests that previous studies which showed light alcohol consumption could benefit health were flawed, HealthDay reports.

In fact, the new analysis of almost 53,000 adults found that moderate consumption of alcohol had little to no health benefit for most people. The new research was conducted at University College London by Craig Knott, who said older research put former drinkers together with people who never drank, and called them all non-drinkers, according to the article.

Piling those who never drank with former drinkers skewed previous findings. The new study adjusted the findings to account for a number of factors, including:

  • Personal
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Lifestyle

“Importantly, former drinkers appear to be less healthy and at greater risk of mortality than never drinkers,” Knott said. “With existing research having largely grouped former and never drinkers together, there was the possibility that protective effects seen among lighter drinkers may be less a consequence of a real biological relationship and more a statistical artifact arising from their comparison against people who are simply less healthy.”

Benefits of light alcohol consumption were indicated only in men ages 50 to 64 who had an average of 15 to 20 drinks a week, and women 65 and older who had an average of 10 drinks a week, the article reports. However, Knott points out that it may be due to “section bias,” the idea that people who participate in studies are in better health than those who don’t.

The findings were reported in BMJ.